Centralized free vaccines to cost Rs 50,000 crores: Report

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Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

New Delhi : A day after PM Narendra Modi announced that the Central government will be procuring the 75% quota of coronavirus vaccines and will distribute it free of cost to the state government, a report claimed that this will cost Rs 50,000 crore to the Centre.

According to a report published by NDTV, the sources in Finance Ministry revealed that the government has funds to complete the centralised free vaccination policy; currently, it is not looking for foreign vaccines to achieve the goal.

Finance Ministry sources said, “We don’t need to go for the supplementary grants immediately as there are enough funds. We may have to go for this in the second round, near the winter session of Parliament. At present we have the money.” 

“Our programme of procurement is centred around Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute and the new Bio-E; we will be able to supply vaccines for the substantial population from these vaccines,” added the sources.

In a surprise TV address on Monday evening PM Narendra Modi announced that the Centre has decided to purchase 75% quota of total production of vaccines and will give it free of cost to the states and the whole process will come to function within next two weeks.

Private sector hospitals can continue to procure the remaining 25 per cent but cannot charge more than Rs 150 per dose over the pre-fixed price. 

The change in the government’s vaccine strategy comes days after the Supreme Court on June 2 asked the Centre to place on record all relevant documents and file notings reflecting its thinking culminating in the COVID-19 vaccination policy, and states questioning the central government over the alleged shortage of vaccines.